tv Dateline London BBC News January 27, 2018 11:30am-12:01pm GMT
what do the british chancellor's comments there tell us about brexit? and the situation on the syria—turkey border — what is the us going to do about its muddle in the middle east? my guests this week — eunice goes, the portuguese writer and journalist. henry chu, europe bureau chief of variety. the british political commentator and author, steve richards. and the french—algerian journalist, nabila ramdani. welcome to you all. we start in the swiss resort of davos, where donald trump was the first us president to attend the world economic forum for 18 years. his presence attracted an enormous amount of attention, just as he likes it. but was there just a shade less protectionism in his speech than had been anticipated? you'd have thought the gathering was all about trump. of course, the world's political and business elite was there too. emmanuel macron of france called for greater co—operation — so did germany's angela merkel. but was she overshadowed by him? and as for brexit, while theresa may was keen to discuss the issue of internet
reform, her chancellor was ruffling feathers, not least in his own party, when he suggested that actually after march 2019, divergence between britain and the eu would be pretty modest. we will come onto brexit in a while. let's begin with the bigger picture, everything we heard at davos. henry, let's start with you. we will start with the president, the first visit for nearly 20 years. was it more conciliatory than the audience anticipated? i think people were anticipating a nativist speech, the kind of rhetoric we are used to from trump. it was more temperate. said america first, but not america alone. the first president to visit for many years. he had never been invited before as a businessman
until now, as president. you always have to be careful about rhetoric and policy with trump. he is hard to nail down. he says one thing one day, and his administration does another the next day. he said at davos, we are not protectionist in the scary way the press are portraying, and yet at the same time ta riffs have portraying, and yet at the same time tariffs have been slapped on solar panels, washing machines, allies from south korea. it is hard to marry his rhetoric with the actions sometimes. did you pick up on a sigh of relief from other countries? what was your take on how he was received? i think he was -- it was clearly made an effort to sound conciliatory. he made an effort to address that particular audience businessmen, plutocrats etc. but he couldn't help but make a few slights against the media and that didn't go down well. i think people were, as
henry said, perhaps expecting a more nativist speech. that didn't come through. he is the president of the united states and maybe there is a bit of the expectation and —— expectation that he is becoming house—trained, getting into the wording and the style of becoming president of the united states. but as henry also says, there is what he says and what the administration does. in terms of his attack on the media, he is still aware of his base back at home. being at davos, with a crowd plutocrats, oligarchs, people with vast amounts of wealth, different from his core voters, he has to also make some sort of show that he still keeps those folders in mind. attacking the media is very popular with that base, as well as, i think he said, we should not forget those who have been left behind and forgotten. he had to make some concessions in his speech.
behind and forgotten. he had to make some concessions in his speechm was a well constructed speech. i don't know if he wrote it or somebody else did. it was still full of contradictions. he put a huge focus on the fact that he despised regulations and was getting rid of loads of them. but he is a regulator. immigration and his plans for that will involve bureaucracy coming out of the united states' years. he praised tax cuts and condemned government. and yet he has pledged to be one of the biggest spenders apparently on infrastructure and capital spending of any president. like a lot of outsiders, he is not alone in this. his actual ideas, even in a relatively coherent speech, are wholly contradictory and confused. is there not a valid point though into the broader point when he says a thriving, prosperous american economy is good for the global economy? he is effectively saying everybody benefits. economy? he is effectively saying
everybody benefitslj economy? he is effectively saying everybody benefits. i must say davos is always conciliatory. there is something about the beautiful surroundings and the sense of varnished privilege that makes everybody relaxed and happy. donald trump in particular sounded as if he wanted to get on with everybody, to be nice and civilised towards everybody, and he was exceptionally fawning towards britain, continually saying what a great country he thinks it is. i think he feels a visit to the uk is very important to his legacy and he wants to be loved here. but the truth is that many millions of britons view him as a pariah and will let him know this when he eventually visits. i think the only group that trump expressed his usual venal prejudice towards at davos was the palestinians. at the time he was sitting next to his ideological ally and close friend, benyamin netanyahu, and the effectively said he wanted to stop millions of dollars of aid to palestinians because the palestinian
authority showed disrespect towards mike pence, his vice president, during his recent visit to israel. so essentially donald trump accuses the palestinians of not being polite enough, as they land is stolen, as they are routinely murdered in their thousands, imprisoned in their hundreds, and undergo in all manners of human rights abuses. there was no mention of the incredibly provocative decision to move the us embassy to djourou so, while completely ignoring the palestinian right to east jerusalem as the capital. —— embassy tojerusalem. i found it unsettling the way trump threatened to wash his hands of the entire peace process are making out he had enough of the boorish palestinians, while suggesting they should accept their fate and be polite towards the billions of dollars poured into israel to ruin their lives. and we will certainly
talk about that on another day. davosis talk about that on another day. davos is the world economic forum. that is what it is. that is what it is therefore away from trump, is this a glorious talking shop? is this a glorious talking shop? is this just this a glorious talking shop? is thisjust an this a glorious talking shop? is this just an opportunity for people to get together and network? does it achieve anything? i think it is the place where politicians present their visions. it is worthy plutocrats of the world feel about themselves. for three days they will discuss inequality, refugees, all the problems of the world that very often they have contributed to create, but they are there discussing potential solutions. for the politicians it is the perfect platform to talk about their visions. that was clearly the case of emmanuel macron, the french president, who used the opportunity to say that france is back and it is a france that will lead in europe. very different for theresa may, the british prime minister. she seems really out of place in davos. it is
a place of posturing. she is not the prime minister who likes to posture. she feels very uncomfortable. she looks very uncomfortable. she is also not a visionary. that has been one of her greatest handicaps as a prime minister. and she doesn't seem to like the attention, which is something very strange for a politician who reached the heights of political power. normally politicians are very vain. and sometimes in a very good manner. you could say it is quite striking that she is like that. absolutely. it is fascinating because what her chancellor said in davos caused all kinds of ructions back here, the use of the word modest. it is remarkable. yeah, and theresa may, thatis remarkable. yeah, and theresa may, that is very perceptive. in britain and the united states we tend to elect actors as prime ministers. they love the performance of politics and the art of politics.
they spend a lot of time reflecting on their own role on the stage. she isa on their own role on the stage. she is a publicly awkward, shy figure, who clearly doesn't like that side of politics, and it's unusual in britain to have that kind of prime minister. 0n philip hammond, in fairness to hammond, body said does not necessarily contradict the government's position. it is still so vague on government's position. it is still so vague on brexit. virtually anything can be said and could fit in. so what he said, he subsequently defended by saying, but we are hoping to have as close to a free—trade agreement as possible with the rest of the european union. but what isn't clear is how that becomes possible. so he can pop up and say, don't worry, things can be pretty much the same. that is true. that is the government aim. but they still are at the have their cake and eat it phase of their objectives.
equally you could have another hardline brexit minister say, we must have the right from march of next year to start trading with other countries as a separate country outside the single market, outside the customs union. that implies a very big break with the re st of implies a very big break with the rest of the european union. so we are more or less a year away from this happening. and actually, you could have two wildly different interpretations from different senior cabinet ministers of what will happen. they can both claim it is close to government policy because government policy is so imprecise. this circle is right back to theresa may. if you had a strong enough prime minister was able to exert discipline and have a unified vision for a cabinet, it doesn't mean you have no dissent, but it means you can manage it in a way she hasn't, we wouldn't be in this position and we would be further along in terms of negotiations than we are. the fact that anyone can say
anything and it somehow seems consonant with government policy means you don't have a policy at all. if you are a policy of everywhere, you are a policy of nowhere, just like she said of citizenship. how much longer until a decision has to be made? it has to, grow down one way or the other, ultimately, doesn't it? it looks like theresa may is hoping to get to march 2019, she will be going through the transition period that might take three years, without any clear vision of what brexit actually means. this is what i think she hopes her. i think psychologically brexiteers will insist something very big happens in march 2000 and 19. the indications are that very little will happen in fact britain will continue to muddle through a transition period while there is no certainty in the meantime. there is no concrete policies. this to me shows what a vague concept brexit a lwa ys
shows what a vague concept brexit always was. there has never been an impression of britain ending its dealings with the european union.|j think people who voted to leave knew what they were voting for a good use a politically it is not? i think the in and out referendum, for many, was possible. britain is redefining its relationship with the eu, which is very different from leaving the eu completely. in fairness to theresa may, even if she was replaced, and there is talk about that, it is beginning to happen again among conservative mps, it is very hard to see, even if a titan who, enjoyed the theatre of politics, and had a clear form of —— idea of what brexit —— what form brexit should take, could get a deal through this particular house of commons, now it might be in the end that she gets quite a bad deal. and it still gets
through the house of commons because of various factors. but if the deal is defeated in the house of commons then the united kingdom is in an extraordinarily —— extraordinary constitutional crisis. a hung parliament is not impossible. i think if she were to be replaced that would throw the negotiations into complete disarray. there would bea into complete disarray. there would be a tory leadership contest. there are presumably lots of people making that point in the party? you talk to people in the party in westminster all the time. are people saying that would be more disruptive than what is happening now? there would be some staring saying this is going so badly wrong that we have to act. but most i speak to still say it would disrupt the negotiations. the brexiteers, some of them say, that mightjeopardise brexit, brexiteers, some of them say, that might jeopardise brexit, which brexiteers, some of them say, that mightjeopardise brexit, which is what they have been waiting for since they were six—month old. ——
six months old. if we do this, that could happen etc. it is not that unusual with british prime ministers. quite a few have been ke pt ministers. quite a few have been kept in place for many years for fear of the alternative being worse. that keeps in place for now. politics is sophie bradley in the united kingdom as in many other countries, that could change very quickly. —— countries, that could change very quickly. — — politics countries, that could change very quickly. —— politics is so febrile. it means at the moment she keeps the job. she has no full majority of her party in the house of commons because she chose to cause an election —— call an election which effectively lost, and now we are in the situation we're in. it goes back to heragain, the situation we're in. it goes back to her again, doesn't it? there is no doubt the election is the context of everything. it is very unusual for a leader to lose a majority for our party and stay on. she stayed on. it explains the sort of enhanced
authority ofjeremy corbyn. the election of last year changed everything in the uk. and of course it is the context of the precarious brexit talks. she had a big majority. —— brexit talks. she had a big majority. — — if brexit talks. she had a big majority. —— if she had a big majority. —— if she had a big majority she could basically tell her party what form brexit should take. and she lost it. it does seem like a particularly precarious period at the moment. thank you for now. for the last week, turkey has been sending tanks into north western syria to fight the kurdish ypg militia. though turkey is sheltering three million refugees from the seven year long civil war in syria, it is alarmed by the ypg, which it regards as terrorists linked to the banned pkk, carving out land along the long border between the two countries. turkey is the us's nato ally. the kurds have been a support to the us in the drive to eliminate so—called islamic state. the us, therefore, appears to be on two sides in one war. what happens now?
president erdogan on friday actually declared he might expand this offensive? first off, the us role in this, is it in first off, the us role in this, is itina first off, the us role in this, is it in a model? what does it do to resolve it? i think we can spend ple nty of resolve it? i think we can spend plenty of time working out how donald trump gets out of a model. the truth is everything about him seems to be based on confusion. he is arguably the most inconsistent, confused and thoroughly unprincipled us president in history. that is saying something. muddling along is a phrase that suits him perfectly. his policies are based on pettiness and mood swings. the reality is that the kurds are the decidedly unusual ally to trump's ally. —— america.
they want to get rid of borders. and they are anti—islamist, which has become a byword for anti—islam. anybody who is any —— anti—islam is 0k by donald trump. that is why he ended a up supporting britain first, although he has apparently apologised. turkey is a nato ally. and america will be duty—bound to support them, even though the turks generally view the kurds as terrorist. you mentioned the pkk. it has been calling for an independent kurdish state within turkey for decades. but it is also lending military support to the kurds currently fighting in syria, but also in iraq. it is a listed terrorist organisation, not just also in iraq. it is a listed terrorist organisation, notjust by turkey, but also by several states and organisations, including nato, the us and the european union. the fudge is that kurdish militia groups
come ina fudge is that kurdish militia groups come in a number of different varieties. america will continue backing what they view as the good kurds to try to wipe out groups like ices. —— isis. we have to remember that america have been paddling up to fight a common enemy. more re ce ntly to fight a common enemy. more recently in libya, they supported the rebels, many of whom were affiliated with al-qaeda. we also must bear in mind that a lot of that logistical support that will be provided in theatres of war will be cove red. provided in theatres of war will be covered. donald trump's america will be offering logistical support without anybody, let alone the turks knowing about it. he will keep instructing his commanders to do what they have to do. it is notjust
the us though, is it? all western nations, if they had to pick one primary aim in that region, everybody wants to eliminate so—called islamic state. that is something an awful lot of countries agree on. absolutely. knowing your enemy is the famous saying about the art of war. it shows how difficult it is to identify your enemies nowadays. we have got into such a complicated, you know, the world is so complicated, you know, the world is so complicated, especially in the middle east, where it is hard to identify where the alliances like, and we have increasingly mass, groups substituting for traditional armies. i want to talk about rex tillerson's speech. we need to think about what triggered this reaction from turkey. it is essentially the united states going back on promises made a few years ago of our support of the kurdish militia is only going
so of the kurdish militia is only going so far. in recent weeks we have the us announcing they are going to build a 30,000 strong border separating turkey from syria. and thatis separating turkey from syria. and that is essentially seen as a massive threat by turkey. if we add to that the us' recognition of jerusalem as the capital of israel, this is something that profoundly irritated turkey. turkey was quite instrumental in taking sure there would be a vote against the united states at the united nations. there is quite a lot of dissonance between turkey and the united states. turkey is becoming very strategic and its relations with russia as well. and of course they are, and you would think the trump administration would understand that, the way they see it, they are securing their border. you would think the administration in america would understand the importance of a border. not by --
not that i ever feel like absolving the trump administration of anything, but it was under 0bama that we first started to support the kurds as our proxies in that fight. the us choosing questionable allies to the cost —— to prosecute the war against isis has been true from the beginning. we have also partnered with islamic radicals in the region. the good ones, we some i decided. this dates back before the trump ministration, no trump finds himself in the middle of this morass. rex tillerson has been talking about it again this week. did you detect any shift in us policy? did it become clearer? i didn't detect a shift in us policy overall. the 0bama administration was looking at this asa administration was looking at this as a longer term project. it was a shift from donald trump's own vision of no more foreign entitlements, being much more isolationist. roger
rex tillerson say was that we are going to be in there for the long haul, diplomatically and militarily, to help build syria. this is what donald trump said he wanted to get us donald trump said he wanted to get us out of. whether they have devoted resources to that is another story. do you have a strategy? i'm not sure they do. this is all part and parcel of wider american, not just they do. this is all part and parcel of wider american, notjust trump, wider american confusion in that region and getting ourselves into a quite admire that we haven't figured out how to extract ourselves from. if there aren't the resources to back up what rex tillerson said, they're hoping to bolster regional actors? i think... what we know is that these allegiances can and do change over time. just look at how
gaddafi was a close ally of the west before they turned on him. if i were the kurds, iwould be very before they turned on him. if i were the kurds, i would be very guarded, that the us may turn on them as well. once they feel theirjob has been done. historically, powerful nations have always used other groups as cannon nations have always used other groups as cannon fodder. there is nothing new there, frankly. and with president erdogan on friday saying this could intensify, the tanks will keep rolling across the border, this continues with the world watching on? i think it's going to be quite dangerous if he continues pushing. u nfortu nately, dangerous if he continues pushing. unfortunately, in the wider context of us turkey relations, they haven't been worse in a long time. besides this conflict, there is a sense in turkey of a conspiracy on the part of some in the us of trying to overthrow the erdogan government because there is a cleric who resides in the us who was probably behind the coup that was put down a couple of years ago. i think this
whole situation is now adding point where nobody really kind of knows how to get out it. it'll be interesting to see how the member states of will react. with a defence turkey? the results of the european dimension. that is also fraying. the cooperation between turkey and the european union is fraying. will london and paris, to help or at least support erdogan? that is something we will watch in the coming weeks. thank you very much to all of you. that's all we have time for on dateline london this week. we'll be back with more passionate debate next week at the same time. thanks for being with us today. goodbye. hello. some rather gloomy weather
prospects for the british isles this weekend. an area of low pressure to the north is feeding all of this cloud our way. hopefully this clearer slot you can see would bring some sunshine in northern ireland and scotland this afternoon. it will be windy with the risk of gales for the north and west of scotland. hopefully some sunshine despite some showers this afternoon. further south, a mass of cloud. here is a closer look. very windy for the northern and western isles. quite a few showers on the wind as well. there will be sunny spells. northern ireland, after a great start coming infora sunny ireland, after a great start coming in for a sunny afternoon. sunshine in northern england. quite a bit of
low cloud as we make our way through the midlands, wales and the south—west. some drizzle possible here and for the south—east of england and east anglia under the weather front, some wet prospects for the second half of the day. the weather front will clear off into the continent promptly this evening. some dry weather if you are heading out. turning a little chilly as the windfalls lied in the latter part of the evening. by the end of the night in postmortem loud, more mist, more murk. they might start to sunday. frost not a problem. this covering of cloud likely to be stubborn throughout the day on sunday. this time the weather front basically coming from the west to the east, sit across northern ireland and scotland, pushing its way through, as opposed to clearing it will give the rain. northern ireland has seen the rain. northern ireland has seen the worst of the rain to the north. a pretty gloomy day. further south, try prospects generally but a lot of cloud. we could get breaks in the
cloud. we could get breaks in the cloud. if we do, we are in very mild air. some places could see temperatures of 1a and 15 degrees. this is monday. the front slight south into england and wales. we could see some heavy rain across england and wales for a time on monday. keen wins as well. further north, drier, brighter. changing wind direction as well coming in from the north—west. some cooler weather on the on monday. this is bbc news. the headlines at midday: the attorney general acknowledges that "very serious mistakes" over the disclosure of evidence by prosecutors have led to the collapse of recent trials in england and wales. there is a need for more training, four police officers and prosecutors. the disclosure programme is not new, it's been there since 1996, and police and
prosecutors should know what they have to do. a0 people have been killed and at least 140 injured as an explosion rocks the afghan capital kabul. relief for a thousand workers at aerospace firm bombardier in belfast, as massive tariffs won't be imposed by america. three teenaged boys have been killed after a car ploughed into them in west london. a man is arrested. also in this hour: paris is on high alert for flooding. record rainfall has caused the river seine to burst its banks in one of the wettest januarys in paris in more than a century.